Archive for Saturday, March 31, 2007

Sebelius: No legislative interference

Governor hopes lawmakers will stay out of KU negotiations

March 31, 2007


— Gov. Kathleen Sebelius on Friday urged legislators to back off proposals to oversee efforts by Kansas University Medical Center to form partnerships with other hospitals.

"I'm hopeful that at the end of the day that we don't have a series of provisos that try to micromanage a process that has been very productive," Sebelius said during a news conference.

KUMC's proposed affiliation with Kansas City, Mo.-based St. Luke's Hospital has been criticized by House leaders, who said they feared the proposal could hurt the medical center's primary partner, KU Hospital in Kansas City, Kan.

Other lawmakers have said the partnership with St. Luke's could have a negative effect on training doctors in Kansas.

KUMC officials, in numerous committee meetings during the legislative session, have sought to ease concerns, saying that the affiliation will strengthen the health care system in Kansas.

Medical center officials say a partnership with St. Luke's is needed to help KU achieve status as a national cancer center.

Sebelius backed that argument.

"It's essential that we get this regional affiliation accomplished so that we can move in that direction," she said.

Even so, both the House and Senate have added measures to their proposed budgets that set up affiliation requirements.

One says that before the agreement could be implemented, it must receive majority approval of the Kansas Board of Regents, KU Hospital board and Wichita Center for Graduate Medical Education board, which is a joint operation of the medical center and two Wichita hospitals.

Another measure says the State Finance Council, which is chaired by Sebelius, would have to review the affiliation agreement and has the option to disapprove it.

Asked if she would veto any of these provisos if they were approved by the full Legislature, Sebelius said she didn't want to speculate on what the final language would say.

"It depends on what they say," she said.

The budget provisos are among many issues to be hashed out by House and Senate negotiators, who are scheduled to continue talks Monday.

Hospital, medical center follow 'principles'

Details remain to be worked out in coming months, but here's a glimpse at some of the "guiding principles" reached so far in the negotiations involving Kansas University Medical Center and KU Hospital's future relationship:

¢ The hospital agrees to boost its contribution to the medical center from $30 million to $42.5 million next year, including $6 million in additional faculty pay and money for 39.5 medical residents. The amount is expected to grow in years ahead based on a formula tied to the hospital's "net patient revenue."

¢ Kansas University Physicians Inc., the group of KU medical faculty who staff the outpatient clinics at KU Hospital, will become independent from the School of Medicine and merge into one doctors' group with doctors on the KU Hospital staff. The hospital and the medical school will have equal representation on the board of the doctors' group.

¢ KU Hospital will build on its current $500,000 annual support for the effort to designate KU as a comprehensive cancer center.

¢ Heads of academic departments within the School of Medicine will remain on the KU campuses at 39th and Rainbow and will not be moved to Saint Luke's.

¢ KU Hospital's board says it does not want St. Luke's to be able to call itself an "academic" affiliate of KU, but it remains to be seen whether St. Luke's will agree to that restriction.


Richard Boyd 10 years, 11 months ago

"'Other lawmakers" have said the partnership with St. Luke's could have a negative effect on training doctors in Kansas."

Finally progress! I am encouraged that this might finally happen. Although I am mystified that even a "legislator" would assume increasing the number of residency slots by 100 over the next 10 years could "hurt" the objective of training physicians?

compmd 10 years, 11 months ago

Maybe the regents should be more vocal about this and act in the interests of the university. The legislature doesn't care about the university, they care about the state's bottom line.

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